I hate dark stories that have no scope for hope. Which is why I never write them. Even in stories that have sadness, I try to leave the reader with something positive. But then, if I must grow as a writer, it is equally important to not shy away from writing in some genre out of dislike or fear of the unknown.
Judging from the feedback I received, people were shocked either by the content of the story itself or at the fact that I had written such a story. Either way, my objective was achieved.
There have been readers asking me for a sort of clarification, so here goes.
I created this character of the father who was so fond of Guddi that her death became a tipping point, and he just went crazy, refusing to accept her death, and continued acting as if she was still alive. Why Guddi dies isn't important here; how it affects her father is.
There is a technique that writers use, called foreshadowing. It means small clues are given in the beginning stages of the story to hint at how it’s going to end. One can choose to give very clear signs, but I went for subtle in this story with the mention of “icy clasp on his heart” and the boss’s “blank stare”.
Some readers said they didn’t see the end coming. I understand. That’s because of the expectation that a character should seem logical. But I’ve heard of people who, when they reach some tipping point, flip, and behave in a way that normal people would find incomprehensible.
In my mind, Guddi’s father was pushed into this abnormal behaviour by her death that his mind wouldn’t accept. It is quite possible for such people to continue with normal behaviour in social situations, and they may not appear crazy to outsiders.
I included a mention of the prompt – Leftovers – in the story. But the prompt was part of the subtext too – Guddi herself has become “leftovers” for the maggots, and in another sense, the father is also essentially dead, and whatever is there of him is only the “leftovers”.
If you felt the story was an emotional roller-coaster, I’d say “Mission Accomplished” 😄
Many readers told me they felt very sad, had a heavy heart and were almost on the point of tears. Although I’m sorry for making them sad, I’d like to take that as a compliment, too 😇
A big thank you to all those who took time to read and share their thoughts!